Friday, November 16, 2012

Roundabouts in Ketchum?

City receives presentation from traffic engineer

Express Staff Writer

This graphic shows how a “dog bone” roundabout could fit on Warm Springs Road in Ketchum to improve traffic flow and safety at the intersections with 10th Street and Lewis Street. Courtesy graphic

In the not-so-distant future, Ketchum motorists might find themselves whizzing around roundabouts like the one recently installed at the intersection of Woodside Boulevard and Fox Acres Road in Hailey, though nothing is yet set in stone.

During a joint meeting of the Ketchum City Council and Planning & Zoning Commission Wednesday, city officials received a report from traffic engineer Ryan Hales on the current traffic conditions in the city and how best to increase the efficiency and safety of traffic flow within city limits.

“The purpose of this meeting is to raise all of our awareness on transportation,” Planning Manager Joyce Allgaier said at the meeting.

Allgaier said the work session was meant as an opportunity for the city to gather information that it could use to steer the development of its new comprehensive plan, which Allgaier is currently in the process of drafting.

During the meeting, Hales mentioned several “problem areas” for traffic flow in the city, including a couple of particularly notorious intersections on Warm Springs Road.

“At the intersection of Warm Springs Road and 10th Street, the line of sight is blocked by several gas pumps,” he said. “If cars aren’t going the speed limit, that, of course, increases the problem.”

Hales suggested installing a traffic light at that location, saying that in 2008, the traffic volume was already sufficient to merit a light there and “definitely” would be by 2018.

Hales also said the nearby intersection of Warm Springs Road and Lewis Street was problematic.

“The right turn lane [for people driving away from downtown Ketchum] is not used in the winter, which causes oncoming cars that want to turn left to wait in the middle of the intersection because drivers aren’t sure if oncoming traffic will turn right or continue straight,” he said.

Hales suggested a roundabout at that location.

Hales said another solution would be to install a “dog bone” roundabout—a long, oblong roundabout that would stretch to fit both intersections and allow cars to stay on Warm Springs Road or make a turn at either intersection.

“The dog bone fits in pretty well here,” he said.

In an interview after the meeting, Allgaier said no decisions have been made and that Hales’ presentation was merely meant as food for thought for the development of the city’s new comprehensive plan.


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